This series was originally published at the Redbird Daily, but is now proud to call Cards Conclave home. This installment was written by Adam Butler.
As we hit #8 in our countdown we’re getting into players that were truly some of the all-time greats.
#8 – JOE MEDWICK, OF (1932-1940, 47-48; MVP, Triple Crown, 6x All-Star, HOF)
Joe “Ducky” Medwick was an outfielder from Carteret, New Jersey. He earned the nickname Ducky while playing for a minor league team in Houston. Some of his teammates claim it was because he waddled when he walked, like a duck.
You’ve probably heard of Medwick for one of two things: being the last Cardinal to win a triple crown, or for being removed from a World Series game by the MLB commissioner. During game 7 of the 1934 World Series in Detroit the Cardinals were leading 7-0 in the sixth inning. Medwick came up with a runner on second and two out. He hit a ball into right field, scoring the runner, and as he slid into the base the Tigers third baseman dug his foot into Medwick’s leg. Joe retaliated by kicking the Tigers third baseman in the stomach. Obviously the Detroit crowd didn’t like that too much.
When Medwick went out to the field for the bottom of the sixth he found the Detroit fans hurling trash at him from the stands. After a 17 minute delay, Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis (what an awesome name) had to step in. Landis ruled Medwick out of the game and he was escorted out by policemen. Landis said he took the action “to protect the player from injury and permit the game to proceed”. The Cardinals would go on to win that game 11-0 to win the 1934 World Series.
The Triple Crown
The other thing you may know Medwick for is being the last Cardinal to win a triple crown, leading the league in batting average, home runs, and RBI’s. Not only is he the last Cardinal to achieve this feat, he’s actually the last player in the National League to do so. It happened during a ridiculous 1937 season. Medwick led the league in hits, doubles, home runs, batting average, SLG%, OBP, OPS, runs, and RBI’s. Beyond winning the triple crown he was also the National League’s Most Valuable Player. Seasons don’t get much more dominant than that.
His numbers stack up with the Cardinal legends.
During his nine years with the Cardinals Medwick compiled some truly impressive stats, which is what landed him so high on this list. During his Cardinal tenure he had a slash line of .335/.372/.545 with a 142 OPS+ and accrued 39.4 WAR. These were good enough to rank him 5th all time in batting average, 8th in slugging percentage, 11th in OPS, and 11th in WAR. He’s also 4th all time in doubles with 377 and 12th in home runs with 152.
It was a great career for Medwick. One that got him elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1968. Some felt that it only took him that long due to many baseball writers disliking him because he would rudely dismiss them when approached for an interview. In the end though, he’s more than deserving of the honor.
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